Welcome back to Passive Pokémon Perks 101, Abiliteers! We’ve got a pretty fun and reasonably versatile Ability to discuss this week, so strap in and hold tight to any valuables. Or, you know, don’t. This week we’re discovering that sometimes lightening the load is exactly what you need to pave a road to victory! This is Ability of the Week: Unburden!
Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it before, either. But boy is it handy dandy! Introduced in generation four, Unburden started life as the signature Ability of Drifblim and Drifloon. Today, in generation five, nine pokémon over five evolutionary families can gain Unburden, and for the most part, they all have business using it! The function of Unburden is the double the user’s Speed stat when a held item is lost. If a devious smile just curled over your face, congratulations, great minds think alike. But we’ll get to that.
Let’s start small. We all became familiar with Liepard in Black and White, for my part largely because it’s a member of Cheren’s metagame team. While Cheren packs a largely offensive Liepard, a cursory glance at Smogon suggests that competitive Liepards are largely stat-alterers. They’re also very fragile, so what’s an Abiliteer to do? Well, Fake Out is Liepard’s bread and butter, so try packing a Normal Gem on it to increase the power, and then you’ll be sitting pretty with a Speed stat of over 200 to get in that next move (perhaps a Toxic or Thunder Wave) before the opponent can knock out the 64 base HP kitty cat.
In my humble opinion, Hitmonlee is one of the coolest pokémon from generation one, at least design wise. Of course, it helps when your namesake is the original kung fu movie badass. As with Liepard, and indeed, any pokémon with Unburden, you can easily use a typed Gem to activate the Ability, and that would certainly be a viable option for Hitmonlee. I’d also like to propose the use of a Liechi or Lansat Berry to increase a stat (in this case Attack or critical hit ratio) when Hitmonlee’s health falls below 25%, which will also trigger Unburden, allowing for a great last stand.
I don’t want to spend too much time on Accelgor because from what I can tell, it can’t utilize any other strategy with Unburden than the two we’ve already discussed. However, it’s worth mentioning that it has the most to gain from the Ability, with a base Speed of 145, which can then be doubled to a whopping 290. Anyway, moving on.
Let’s finish this with the last two pokémon with Unburden, and the move that’s been dying to be discussed since the beginning of the article. First, the monsters. The last two families with Unburden are the originators of the Ability, the Drifblim line, and arguably the least-loved of the generational Grass starters, the Sceptile line. And the move that they share that’s Unburden’s bread and butter? Acrobatics. Yeah, you remember this guy. The Flying Gem/Acrobatics combo was pretty darn popular at last year’s VGC from what I recall, and Unburden just makes it even better. Sceptile’s base 120 in Speed is doubled to 240 after using Acrobatics and the Gem, and then it’s just a question of what you trained it in and start sweeping. Drifblim meanwhile is arguably even better, adding a STAB to the initial Acrobatics, a respectable Special Attack of 90, and an “after” Speed stat of 160.
Well, that just about finishes it u- HEY WAIT JUST A MINUTE. How did I do an article about an Ability called Unburden, that’s about speeding up after removing excess weight, and not make a Dragonball Z weighted training clothes joke!? Well we’ll just have to fix thi-[AUTOMATED ANIME JOKE-ABORTER ACTIVATED. NO, WE’RE NOT GOING THERE.]